NY Times editorial board says it's the 'right time' to end masking in schools

Masks have value, mandates not so much: Dr. Siegel

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel weighs in as Democratic-run states loosen COVID restrictions.

The New York Times editorial board said Monday that it was the “right time” to end masking in schools, a day ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. 

The editorial board said the recent announcement from Mayor Eric Adams that said school mask mandates would be lifted by March 7 would “please” as many as it would “infuriate.”

“But with full vaccination rates in the city at 78 percent and the latest surge clearly passed, this is the right time to lift the requirement for masks in schools,” the editorial board said. “It’s a lot to ask young children to wear masks for several hours a day, especially when so many adults seem to struggle with it.”

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff sided with The New York Times. (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)
(DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

Adams also announced plans to remove the vaccine requirement for restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and bars in early March. The editorial board said it was “harder to justify” removing the vaccine requirement. However, the board also noted that it was unlikely New Yorkers would “live with such checks forever” and that it was a good time to “test the waters.”

“New York can be a model and set an example for other cities and states that are ready to lift Covid-19 restrictions, in a spirit of optimism and care,” the editorial board wrote. 

New York was among the first few Democrat-led states to lift the COVID-19 restrictions in recent weeks. Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Oregon and Illinois all loosened mask restrictions in the past month as well.

Many Republican-led states have been without mask mandates and vaccine requirements for months. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul holds a COVID-19 briefing at the governor’s office in New York in 2021. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-NY., announced on Feb. 10 that she would be removing the indoor mask mandate. At the time, the mask requirement remained in place for schools. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) introduced new masking guidance on Feb. 25 that focused on community risk rather than case numbers. Under this new guidance, about 70% of Americans live in low-to-medium-risk areas and, according to CDC, don’t have to wear a mask. The CDC included schools in its new guidelines. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been criticized and mocked from all sides after a series of muddled messages have baffled Americans amid a record surge in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the omicron variant. (iStock)

The editorial board also said Adams should take action in continuing to protect the vulnerable and the immunocompromised, in order to “win more support” for lifting the restrictions.The board also called for Adams to have a plan for another potential surge. 

“The past two years have taught us that there is no foolproof metric for when to impose which safety measures, or when to lift them. Our technology advances, the virus evolves, and public willingness to change behavior shifts over time,” the board wrote. 

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